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Conservation biology

The bees are back in Europe

Declines in European pollinator diversity during the twentieth century seem to have slowed following the implementation of environmental policies.

Luísa Gigante Carvalheiro at the University of Leeds, UK, and her colleagues examined historical surveys of native plants and pollinators — bees, hoverflies and butterflies — in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium. In general, the number of different native species at a given location, or species richness, declined before 1990. However, after 1990, the decline slowed for most taxa and regions; in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, local bee richness actually increased.

Although other factors such as climate probably have some role, policies that came into effect after 1990 could be benefiting European species, the authors say.

Ecol. Lett. (2013)

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The bees are back in Europe. Nature 498, 8 (2013).

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